Bollywood’s Response to COVID-19

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SEATTLE, Washington — The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll on film production in India. Yet that has not stopped Bollywood’s stars from continuing to make an impact on the lives of their fans. In order to help combat the spread of the coronavirus, these Indian celebrities are doing their part in any way they can. Here is Bollywood’s response to COVID-19.

Bollywood and the PM CARES Fund

The PM CARES Fund is a national fund developed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that seeks to raise money for COVID-19 relief programs. As a show of support, Bollywood celebrities are spreading awareness by publicizing their donations on social media and encouraging fans to contribute as much as they can.

On March 28, renowned Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar announced on Twitter he would be donating Rs 25 crore (more than $200 million) to the PM CARES Fund. “This is that time when all that matters is the lives of our people,” he wrote. “And we need to do anything and everything it takes.”

On his Instagram account, fellow actor Shah Rukh Khan released two videos urging others to avoid public spaces and unnecessary travel amid the quarantine. He was not content to simply call on others to help, however. In addition to donating to the PM CARES Fund, Rukh Khan also lent the Mumbai Municipality use of his personal office space to expand the municipality’s quarantine capacity. The four-story building came with supplies for quarantined women, children and the elderly.

Unity in the Face of COVID-19

Another way Bollywood celebrities are spreading awareness is by joining in on government-led efforts to express unity during the crisis. On the first day of the lockdown, Prime Minister Modi asked Indian citizens to stand out on their balconies and make noise. A few days later, the prime minister then followed up with a call for a nationwide blackout to show support for victims of COVID-19.
As a way to encourage participation, Bollywood stars took to social media to share their involvement. Actress Katrina Kaif, for example, made an Instagram post of herself banging a spoon against a steel plate on her balcony. Deepika Padukone, for her part, shared videos of herself turning out the lights and lighting special candles called ‘diyas’ amid the blackout.
Others in Bollywood are supporting unity during the lockdown by taking advantage of social media to keep fans engaged at home. Some, like actress Anushka Sharma and her husband, sportsman Virat Kohli, are using their Instagram to share family activity ideas during the quarantine. Others, like actor Shahid Kapoor, are sending out positive messages to fans and showing solidarity for Prime Minister Modi’s plans.

Bollywood’s Support for India’s Poor

Many Bollywood celebrities have also recognized the need to support those who are suffering the most during the pandemic. This includes India’s wage workers, many of whom have lost their only source of income due to business closures across the country.
One prominent example is actor Salman Khan. Making good on his prior promise, Khan has begun making financial payments of Rs 3,000 to more than 23,000 wage workers in the film industry. Others, like actress Athiya Shetty, have made widely-shared social media posts supporting both essential workers and the animals abandoned due to COVID-19.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet reached its peak, Bollywood’s Response to COVID-19 has been impressive thus far. Though known for their work on the big screen, many of India’s brightest stars are putting their celebrity to good use amid the crisis.

– Krishna Panchal
Photo: Flickr

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